Aid groups offer Lebanon's migrant workers a virus lifeline


Maya Trad, field coordinator at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is pictured at her office in Beirut, Lebanon February 5, 2021. Picture taken February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Imad Creidi

BEIRUT (Reuters) - As Lebanon grapples with surging coronavirus infections and a financial crisis that has crushed its economy, migrant workers often cannot find the care they need if they test positive.

Desperate workers from Africa and Asia are turning to charities and aid organisations.

There are hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in Lebanon but rights groups say its labour laws do not provide adequate protection or health cover.

Hospitals are running out of capacity to treat critically ill patients as a result of a spike in infections since the Christmas and New Year holidays. Lebanon has registered 328,016 cases and 3,803 deaths.

"Because of the economic crisis and because of the outbreak of the COVID pandemic as well, there's been a decrease in the quality of life of migrant workers and they find themselves certainly in a more dire situation," said Médecins Sans Frontières field coordinator Maya Trad.

She and her colleagues have set up a helpline that directs callers to mental health, medical or social support.

Migrant workers who test positive can quarantine at a centre in southern Lebanon, or will be sent to public hospitals where MSF makes sure they are given care.

The Siblin Isolation Centre, run in partnership with the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, helps curb transmission of the virus in communities where people cannot isolate, MSF says.

For one migrant worker, the experience left her grateful and touched.

"I felt that I had found my place, their human interaction is great," she said after recovering. "I left in tears. I wanted to stay in that place."

But now she plans to fly home.

"There's nothing left in Lebanon ... and everything is getting worse," she said, asking to remain anonymous.

(Reporting by Imad Creidi; Writing by Yara Abi Nader and Ayat Basma; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

South Africans battle to bridge digital divide in Covid-19 vaccination race
Vaccinated Brits could be back on Europe's beaches soon - minister
Myanmar army clashes with anti-junta militia in Mandalay city
Rights group urges UN pressure campaign against Nicaragua president
EU data watchdogs want ban on AI facial recognition
Guatemalan "high risk court" judges say they are being persecuted, harassed
Migrant children report overcrowding, spoiled food, depression in U.S. shelters
North Korea ridicules U.S. hopes for talks as allies rethink approach
Peruvian judge in Keiko Fujimori corruption case rejects call to return her to prison
Colombia's COVID-19 deaths pass 100,000 in unrelenting third wave

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers